Sunday, February 21, 2016

Portugal: Quinta da Regaleira

While in Sintra, we visited two different palaces - the Quinta da Regaleira and the Palacio de Monserrate - but I think they each deserve their own post, mostly because of the ridiculous number of pictures that I took at each one.

This is the Quinta da Regaleira.

The "Regaleira" part of the estate's name comes from the fact that the land was once owned by the Viscounts of Regaleira, a family of wealthy merchants from Porto. In 1892, they sold the property to António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro, who was known as Monteiro dos Milhões, or Monteiro the Millionaire.

He hired the Italian set designer and architect Luigi Manini to create a building that evoked Roman, Gothic, Renaissance, and Manueline styles and that was constructed between 1904 and 1910 - allegedly with symbols related to alchemy, Masonry, the Knights Templar, and the Rosicrucians.

As impressive as the building is, my favorite part of the estate was the grounds.

Prior to visiting, I had imagined what this place might look like, piecing together all the pictures that I'd found of it online, and I have to admit that I was afraid that the reality would pale in comparison to the fantasy that I'd created in my head. Not so. This place was even more beautiful than I'd imagined it to be, and I can assure you that my pictures just do not do it justice. It was like being in a fairy tale, and I walked around, open-mouthed, not quite believing that everything that I was seeing was real.

This is one of two so-called Initiation Wells, which were apparently used for ceremonial purposes as part of Tarot initiation rites.

This cat is me.

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